Cougar Mountain ranks among nation’s top 25 trail running destinations

October 5, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 2 p.m. Oct. 5, 2011

Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is among the 25 best places for trail running in the United States.

Runner’s World magazine named the Issaquah Alps peak to the list.

“Every urban area should be blessed with a trail running sanctuary as sublime as Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park,” the magazine notes.

The mountain boasts a 36-mile trail system. King County Parks and the Seattle Running Club produce a popular trail running series on the mountain each year.

Cougar Mountain is the only Washington destination on the list.

Runner’s World offered effusive praise for the 3,115-acre park: “Starting from one of the four main trailheads, a creative trail runner can link a variety of twisty-turny loops to create a run of just about any length and difficulty, though all are certain to include cascading waterfalls, lush fern undergrowth, foot bridges over bubbling creeks, massive glacial boulders, and several scenic viewpoints (and perhaps also long-closed mine shafts, Cold War missile silos, bobcats and black bears).”

Cougar Mountain does not include missile silos, per se, but the peak hosted a Nike anti-aircraft battery during the Cold War.

Seattle Running Club members donate, on average, 150 hours each year to trail maintenance at Cougar Mountain, and the annual trail running series has brought more than $70,000 to King County Parks to support park maintenance and improvements.

The announcement came less than a month after Outside magazine ranked Issaquah among 19 cities on the Best Towns 2011 list.

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